Jun 12, 2008

The Supreme Court (by slim margin): The U.S. Constitution is Still Valid!

<-- GITMO--US military base in Cuba (AP)

If you didn't know already, the Supreme Court has a marginal majority of more or less sane judges--something that will change (for better or worse) when the next president takes office. In another "stunning blow" to the Bush regime, SCOTUS, by 5-4, decided that the GITMO detainees have rights of habeas corpus (due process) even if they're foreign nationals. The high court reaffirmed the principle that the US constitution affords rights to persons (not just citizens) and that not even Congress can take away those rights. [here's the complete SCOTUS decision,in pdf]

Bush&Co thought to keep the enemy combatants on Cuban soil so that the laws of the United States didn't apply to them. There are hundreds of detainees at the US base in Cuba. Some of them are really bad people but some were caught in a wide dragnet when the US was paying thousands of dollars to local warlords to turn in "enemy combatants." You can imagine who accurate this was. Thus, the question is what should a person who's been caught & labeled "enemy combatant" do? Should the US detain such persons for ever without any charges filed against them? And, for no way for them to petition the courts? Of course not! If we are to remain a nation of laws, and not of men--like the Old Regime's elites that operated outside the law--then we have to maintain our high standards of legality of a civilized & liberal society.

What's also obvious, is that the country has to opt for a regime change in the White House, and for a Congress that will void the disgraceful Military Commissions Act. As the case Marbury v. Madison showed, the Executive and Congress cannot act in violation of the constitution. It also established the principle of judicial review--that the courts can rule on the legality of the actions by the branches of our government.

However, there are radical extremists on SCOTUS nowadays. Scalia, Thomas, Alito, and increasingly Roberts who want to reverse the progress the US has achieved in civil rights and liberties. Three of them are ready to overturn Roe v. Wade, and even demolish the separation of church & state--as Scalia & Thomas seem to think that such restrictions apply only to the federal government not the states!!!! Just think about this. Then make sure Bush&Co don't get a third term.

The nation is "at war with radical Islamists" and that the court's decision "will make the war harder on us. It will almost certainly cause more Americans to be killed."
Dissenting Justice Scalia

This is in line with Scalia's views on torture--that torture is OK as long as it is not punishment--as he argued in his recent interview on 60 Minutes. Sure, what a brilliant legal mind he's got! Our country has faced far greater enemies than the terrorists today, so there's no excuse for giving up those principles and conditions we've been admired for and have made our country great.

"The laws and Constitution are designed to survive, and remain in force, in extraordinary times."
Justice Kennedy writing for the majority opinion of the Supreme Court


Erin said...

SCOTUS will change soon since most of the judges are really old. It's up to the people of the US to pick their next president very carefully. There's no more margin for mistakes....

not only on the Supreme Court but for our foreign policy.

Btw, I don't understand why experience is such a great thing, IF YOU HAVE LEARNED THE WRONG LESSONS!

Andros said...

By the time the next prez takes office, 6 of the 9 justices will be over 70. Obviously the next prez will appoint 1 or 2, maybe 3 new judges. It is HUGE!

We know what kind of persons Obama and McCain would appoint....

Take your choice, and vote accordingly!

jd said...

Oh, the country wants change over experience by 16 points in very recent polls....

perhaps confirming that McCain's experience is not desirable at this point! which is great if you asked me.


Anonymous said...

but, the same people would prefer Obama's change by 6 points only!

deeniac said...

SIX POINTS is AWESOME at this juncture!!!!!

In the earlier post, the author hinted at a new political realignment taking place this year. I hope he's right. I agree that there is a great chance this presidential election won't be that close, but a blow out.


alsace said...

I'm often puzzled by smart people holding stupid ideas! I don't think anyone on SCOTUS is stupid, but some do have stupid ideas.

I watched Scalia's 60 Minutes interview a few weeks ago, and couldn't believe his reasons for supporting torture. He kept saying that being slapped around is not "cruel and unusual punishment" (which is not allowed under the US Constitution) because the interrogators aren't punishing the detainee!!! they just want information! Whatever.

Let's make sure, Scalia, Thomas and Alito feel lonely on SCOTUS.

It's almost certain the next vacancy will come from the moderate side. Stevens is over 90 years old. Great judge. Thank you president Ford for appointing him!

Anonymous said...

Torture is not good, but don't you think it's necessary sometimes? If there's a good chance for saving innocent lives? Why should a person's rights supersede those of the multitude?

drew said...

Justice Kennedy I think has taken the role of former justice O'Connor. He is the new centrist.

This court is centrist to conservative. Only Breyer and Ginsburg and liberals. Stevens, Souter and Kennedy are centrists.